Patriarchal structures and power relations – structures of domination and control deeply built into human history; the control and ‘property’ of women by fathers or husbands remained largely until the last quarter of 20th century.
Violence against women (VAW) in the private sphere was left apart while battering men were institutionally protected. I.e. women were living in a system of structural, institutional and symbolic violence which allowed or at least tolerated male physical and psychological abuse. With their slogan “the private is political” women demanded the issue of violence against women to be taken from the private sphere on to the political agenda, which finally resulted in the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (DEVAW) by the United Nations in 1993.
Besides putting the issue of VAW on the political agenda, the demand on the media’s active role still lacks fulfilment, shown by the stoic stability of sexist representations of women, which so is perpetuing the symbolic and cultural violence inherent in the system.
See also abstract of my study: gender violence & the visual